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The Affordable Care Act at Year Two – 2012


Signed into law in 2010, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has made significant changes to the nation’s health care system.This report was created by The Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law to provide an update on the law’s impact after the first two years. The update focuses on the benefit to people with mental health issues, and also highlights major achievements of the ACA in Medicaid, the health care system, and access to care, among other areas.

Key Points

Older adults, particularly those with disabilities, often face increasing health care needs. This report is more closely framed around the ACA’s benefits to mental health care, but addresses many issues relevant to older adults in general. In terms of access to care and consumer protection, over the past two years the ACA has ended pre-existing condition exclusions, eliminated lifetime limits on insurance plans, and closed the prescription drug “donut hole.”

Other highlights of the report include:

  1. The ACA has improved Medicaid by making improvements to home- and community-based services, creating “Medicaid health homes,” and expanding long-term care services.
  2. Improvements have also been made to the health care system in general, primarily through a consumer services program designed to help people with the health insurance system.
  3. Considerable work has been done on disease prevention and improving overall quality of health care. By improving access to preventative care and creating a national quality strategy, substantial headway has been made in both areas.

How to Use

Once again, the Bazelon Center is primarily focused on information regarding mental health, which makes that the emphasis of this report. However, older adults and their caregivers can use this information to learn about improvements being made to health care that might interest them, and policymakers can use this information as a guide to help recognize the successes of previous legislation.

View the full report: The Affordable Care Act at Year Two – 2012 (PDF – 116 KB)

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